15 Juni 2007

Oh, the Metric System.

For those of my less worldy American readers (of which most are the latter, and hopefully not the former), everywhere else in the world uses the metric system. We, however, still hold to our old and somewhat arbitrary and strange Imperial/English system of units and measures. As such, our body weights are in pounds (which is an actual unit of weight, as opposed to mass) and our heights are in inches and feet (or just inches). This is opposed to body mass in kilograms and height in centimeters.

The list goes on: volumes (for beverages or gas tanks), temperatures, distances...

All of this, you should already know and if I haven't yet bored you, please read on for the more interesting information.

Everyone in lab assumes that I work universally with the English system, including in lab and so (at first) made an effort to explain everything to me in such units. This includes volumes of solvents and liquids reagents (though they like to use the word 'educt'), masses of such items, and temperatures. All of this as though we don't use the metric system in lab in the States, which all of you Americans should know is insane. I don't think I've seen a paper written within the last century that used non-metric units.

All the same, it's very nice of my colleagues to make the effort and it's much appreciated, if somewhat humorous.

As a quick aside, a liter of gasoline here costs about the same as a gallon at home and there are approximately 3.8 liters per US gallon. Think about it.

Keine Kommentare: